Barcelona is a beautiful city filled with both modern and traditional architecture, wonderful food (yes, there are four mealtimes in a day), a great nightlife, and family friendly beaches. Three days isn’t a whole lot to see much of anything, but sometimes that is all the time one has, particularly if one wants to see parts of the entire country. Following is a list of the essential sights to really get an understanding of this diverse city’s culture.
Placa de la Sagrada Familia
This incomplete Art Nouveau cathedral created by the whimsical vision of Architect Antoni Gaudi, has not changed much since Gaudi died in 1926. Gaudi is buried in its crypt, which together with the apse and façade were the only things completed before his death. The crypt also houses models and exhibits which shows Gaudi’s vision of the completed cathedral. There is an elevator in one of the towers for a spectacular view of Barcelona.
Passeig de Gracia 43
Daily 9 am – 2 pm
Undulating balconies, towers and bright tiles that glint like mirrors adorning its façade, makes this house designed by Antonio Gaudi, a fun destination for children as well as grown-ups. The inside is just as fun.
A world heritage site, the fairy-tale Parc Guell was begun as a development project, yet none of the houses sold. Antoni Gaudi was commissioned to design the garden village, the pavillions and the entrance staircase.
Carrer de Montcada 15-19
Although he was born in Malaga, Spain, Pablo Picasso considered Barcelona to be his true home. The Museu Picasso contains the largest selection of his drawings, engravings and ceramics: art from his boyhood sketches, his blue period, his rose period, and cubist works. An amazing 3,600 pieces, many donated by his family.
Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 749
The only bullring in Barcelona, it is open from April to September. On site is the Bullfighting Museum of Barcelona, which has displays of famous bull heads, branding irons, and old tickets, among numerous other things.
The heart of Barcelona street life, this beautiful boulevard brims with flamenco dancers, cafes, shops, and street musicians. Stop by the Boqueria Market aka Mercat de Sant Josep, in its nineteenth century cast-iron home.
Placa Portal de la Pau 1
Daily 10 am – 8 pm
Maps, ship models, figureheads, and a full-sized reproduction of Real, a 16th century Spanish galley, make this one of the best maritime museums in the world. Of course, it doesn’t hurt that it has thoroughly preserved the Catalan Navy’s glories of 500 years ago.
Monument a Colom (Columbus Monument)
Daily June through September 9 am – 8:30 pm
Discovery of the New World is no small feat. Ferdinand and Isabella decided that Christopher Columbus deserved at least an imposing monument. For a view of the harbor and the city, head inside and ride the elevator to the top.
This crowded beach is loud and popular with the locals. The eateries are informal, and of the fast food variety. There is access for the disabled, lifeguards and showers. Great for watching the city’s residents at what they do best: living life to the fullest. However, if one wants something a bit more quiet and touristy there’s always:
Nova Icaria Beach:
For the foodies, this beach has wonderful restaurants and beach bars, although it is small. The best thing about this beach is the area afforded to the physically disabled. There’s assistance on hand for getting in and out of the water, supervision while in the water, and a bathing chair. Even the showering facilities are accessible.
Old town Barcelona dates back to the Medieval Ages. It is filled with romantic, narrow streets and charming shops, cafes and bars. Pablo Picasso had resided in the area. Lodging in the area is typically less expensive than in other parts of the city.
The most scenic of the two hills overlooking Barcelona, and also the home of the 1992 Olympics, Montjuic is great for families with children. Its Spanish Village – built as part of the 1929 Exhibition- consists of one hundred and fifteen buildings (some original, some reproduced) from all over Spain.
Catalan National Art Museum
Parc de Montjuic
Romanesque and Gothic paintings, sculptures and metalwork.